We just got back from our latest trip to Ireland. Yayyy!
It was wonderful, of course. We rented a car for a week in Wicklow and returned it when we spent the remaining time in Dublin.
You know what? I missed the car.
There is nothing like being able to hop in the car whenever you like and see where the road takes you.
Like when we surprisingly found ourselves with two sleeping kiddos and decided to just keep driving! We ended up finding a few hidden local beaches to explore later in the week.
I got an email a little while back that when I read it, I thought, oh man, soooo many good questions about renting a car.
With permission, I decided to share it here with my responses, because I am pretty sure at least one of these questions has crossed the minds of 95% of people planning their own trip to Ireland for the first time.
I think my credit card covers Ireland. What does that really mean?
My Chase VISA is one of the few credit cards that does cover the CWD coverage. But they require me to waive any coverages offered by the car rental agency, which makes their coverage (Chase’s coverage) as primary. Chase has even provided me with a letter stating as much (which I would have reprinted 2 weeks prior to my departure).
But I’m not clear as to whether they cover *just* the mandatory CDW coverage, or if they also cover the optional Excess Protection (reduces Damage Waiver Excess charges) and Roadside Assistance (tires/glass) coverages. I’ll have to find out.
If you use Chase’s insurance, you are essentially getting Super Collision Damage Waiver or Excess insurance (even though they don’t exactly call it that).
If there is any damage at the end of your trip, your chase card will be charged automatically with the repair costs. You will in turn work with Chase to go through a claims process to have those charges removed (Chase will require, receipts, pictures, any documentation like damage reports or police reports, etc.).
Chase’s insurances should include damage to tires and windshield as you won’t be able to purchase tire/windshield coverage from the car rental company since you are waiving all insurance from them.
Should I get an automatic & the full Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) insurance from the car rental company?
Plus, the whole manual vs automatic transmission choice. Yes, I can drive a stick, but I haven’t in Ireland. And yes, I’m aware the learning curve of driving on the opposite side of the road combined with learning to drive a left-handed manual transmission, might be tempting fate.
I’m very tempted to simply spend the extra money to rent an Automatic transmission and simply pay for ALL of the coverages offered by the rental agency (CDW, Excess Protection (or Super-CDW) and Roadside Assistance (tires/glass).
This is very much what I recommend to 99% of first time visitors to Ireland. Unless you drive a manual every day and it is second nature to you, having an automatic is well worth not having the additional stressor of shifting with your left hand.
Purchasing the additional insurances from the car rental company makes life so much easier. You won’t have any holds placed on your credit card for the duration of your trip. You won’t have to worry about photos or follow-up documentation. You won’t have to file any claims when you return.
And (probably my favorite part), you can toss those keys in at the end and not worry about the run in you had with the stone wall and your side mirror. :-)
Which company (and which site) should I book my car rental with?
I’m also under the impression that renting through an agency located in Ireland (with the ‘.ie’ suffix in the domain name) will provide me the most competitive and accurate quotes. I was going to consider renting through Costco here in the US, as they historically offer the best prices for domestic rentals. But not sure about Ireland.
Dan Dooley seems to be the sentimental favorite for past vacationers to Ireland, but they were bought out by Enterprise in 2017 and now I’m hearing they are a lot more ‘corporate’ than they used to be. If I do choose to book through Dan Dooley, do you recommend doing so directly with the Dublin Airport location? Or will the US-based location in New Jersey ensure all fees are covered prior to my arrival? I’ll be traveling into the UK (Northern Ireland) and back for a couple of days, so I know there will be an added fee for that too.
Dan Dooley used to be my favorite too… But, unfortunately, they are merely just an agent for Enterprise now, not a special Irish company with great customer service we were used to before.
If I were planning to buy the Super Collision Damage Insurance when looking at a rental car quote in Ireland, I’d keep Dan Dooley in the running. If it so happened that they came out as the least expensive, I’d use them. But I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to use Dan Dooley as I had in the past.
Here is a link to a rough spreadsheet I made when comparing prices between car rental agencies this year. Feel free to copy and paste it or use it to check out the primary car rental companies with a .ie ending.
I would shy away from using Costco to get your rental car in Ireland unless you fully understand what coverage you are getting. Most often with these third-party companies you don’t receive any Collision Damage insurance, which means you will be required to purchase it at the counter, plus any SCDW/Excess insurance you like. If you don’t read the terms and conditions of Costco’s policy closely, you may be surprised by all the extras when you arrive (no one wants sticker shock within the first few minutes of arriving!).
That beach we found in Wicklow was just south of the south entrance to Brittas Bay Beach. It doesn’t have any facilities and the car park only has room for at most ten cars. It’s perfectly secluded, has wonderful sand, and light waves to dip your toes into.
If you keep driving along the coast road, you’ll see a few more beaches like this that are clear local spots for swimming and fishing.
Favorite gems that you discovered while on a road trip?